Lot 535
  • 535


300,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Porcelain, wood stand
  • Height 27 in., 68.6 cm
sturdily potted, of quatrefoil section, resting on a slightly splayed foot, the elegantly lobed body sweeping to a waisted neck set to either side with an archaistic phoenix-form handle of serpentine openwork form with finely incised detailing of feathers, beak, and eyes, and applied overall with an unctuous celadon-green glaze of a pale sea-green color pooling to slightly richer tones in the recesses and around the foot, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze-blue, wood stand (2)


Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5th-6th November 1996, lot 858.

Catalogue Note

Deceptively simple in form and design, this vase markedly contrasts with the richly ornamented decorative style that is generally associated with the Qianlong period, and illustrates the technical perfection achieved by craftsmen working at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen. Monochrome vessels required the highest level of skill and precision in every stage of their production, from the purity of the clay and precision of the potting to the evenness of the glaze and control of the firing. The slightest irregularity would result in the rejection and destruction of the piece, thus pushing the craftsmen to the limits of their abilities, particularly in the production of large vessels such as the current vase. The subtle glaze has been created in imitation of the luminous blue-green wares achieved by the potters at the Longquan kilns during the Southern Song dynasty. It reflects the Qianlong emperor's noted admiration for these early wares, which he not only collected but also commissioned the imperial kilns to recreate, a task readily accomplished with great skill, added innovations and improvements that set these wares apart from their prototypes.This vase  exemplifies the inspired reinterpretation of the highly esteemed glazes and forms of the Song dynasty. The diminutive forms of the early dynasty are transformed to a magnificent and imposing scale. It features a perfect, luminous, even glaze and an innovative elegant form, and is extremely pleasing to the eye and outstandingly soft to the touch. It was created by the imperial kilns most probably under the supervision of Tang Ying (1682-1756), China’s most able superintendent of the imperial porcelain manufactory. Featuring a magnificent celadon-green glaze of understated beauty, this vase is exceedingly rare amongst Qianlong imperial porcelains and no identical example appears to be recorded.

A similarly glazed but faceted hu-form handled vase of large size was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2013, lot 3018. See also a massive ru-type hu-form vase with dragon-head handles sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th October 2011, lot 1986.